June 26, 2015 / 10:20 AM / 2 years ago

Altice to restructure under new Dutch entity

PARIS (Reuters) - European telecoms group announced a restructuring on Friday whereby it will merge with its new Dutch company Altice NV, to strengthen its capacity for future acquisitions.

Altice is controlled by billionaire Patrick Drahi, who has been on a buying spree in the past 18 months that has seen his group purchase four companies and make a bid for smaller French rival Bouygues Telecom, which was rejected.

Under the restructuring, Altice shareholders would receive two types of new shares and voting rights replacing their existing shares, assuming they approve the move at an extraordinary general meeting in the first week of July.

Before the change is made, Altice will transfer most of its assets and liabilities to a new Luxembourg-based subsidiary, Altice Luxembourg SA, it said. The new Dutch company will be the parent of Altice Luxembourg.

“The group will benefit from a powerful equity acquisition currency without prejudicing voting control of the company’s founding shareholder group,” Chief Executive Dexter Goei said in a statement.

“This will further strengthen Altice’s position in the next phase of value-enhancing growth.”

Drahi’s Numericable cable company beat Bouygues last year to buy Vivendi’s SFR, the second-biggest French mobile firm, to create Numericable-SFR.

Altice on Thursday defended its recent bid for Bouygues Telecom. After the market closed Altice confirmed it valued France’s No.3 mobile operator at “a minimum of 10 billion euros” ($11.2 billion) and said its offer remained on the table.

Altice Group is a multinational cable and telecommunications company with operations in France, Israel, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, in French Overseas Territories and Switzerland.

Altice shares were trading 0.2 percent lower at 130.9 euros on Euronext Amsterdam by 0744 GMT.

($1 = 0.8927 euros)

Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Susan Fenton

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